A documentary tries to reveal the mystery of the last great genius of pop music

Long before it was essential, David Bowie I already knew what it was to be multiplatform. He was a painter, videographer, actor, mime, dancer and mainly owner of one of the great voices of popular music at the service of one of the great repertoires of popular music. He was a complete artist, a revolutionary, a genius.

All those facets are covered in Moonage Daydreamthe documentary of Brett Morgan which goes today at 9:00 pm at Movie Portones and today and tomorrow at 9:30 pm at Movie Punta Carretas.

It is one of the great films of the year and the term documentary is a bit restrictive for the amount of imagination and resources that Morgen uses to tell the artist of Bowie, the Picasso of pop.

To accomplish both, Morgen (who led The Kid Stays in the Picture about producer Robert Evans and Cobain: Mountain Heck on Kurt Cobain) had the support of Bowie’s estate. That is evidenced by unlimited access to the personal file of a compulsive creator.

Moonage Daydream it is put together like a collage that brings together images from home and experimental videos, his participation in the films, recordings of him painting, making video art and everything that occurred to him, which was, we said, a lot.

To this he adds unpublished testimonies, fragments of interviews, texts and reflections that generate the sensation that Bowie, in addition, had pretensions of a witty philosopher. The film begins with a phrase from Nietzsche quoted by Bowie himself about the individualism of a world without God and in a huge panel with all his influences is, among others, Oscar Wilde. There is a certain witty nihilism in his statements and his songs always seem focused on telling the story of an isolated, lonely man. He felt very identified with Buster Keaton.

One theme that interested Morgen was that of transience and transcendence. “I realized that many of Bowie’s ideas that he wanted to explore: mortality, aging, time, gender fluidity, spirituality, mobility, chaos, fragmentation could connect to that central theme,” the director told the indiewire publication.

Everything is present in a songbook that, like him, knew how to mutate in a constant search. The documentary reflects on his ultra-glam alien who served as Ziggy Stardust in the early 1970s, the stylized white duke who became a dashing superstar in the 1980s (the film makes it abundantly clear how big that “Let’s Dance” made him). ”), the quirky experimenter of the end of the century and the mature chronicler of the last stage of his career.

The soundtrack includes unpublished contributions such as live versions of some of his classics or lesser-known songs. Legendary Bowie producer Tony Visconti brings new arrangements and unexpected combinations that breathe new life into familiar tunes; the film is also a sound journey.

It is that Morgen’s greatest achievement is to build a related environment to show so much. With frequent references to German expressionism (a presence in her paintings, too) and a psychedelic feel, Moonage Daydream manages to capture the spirit of such a great character.

There was in Bowie an artistic drive and for the discovery that leads him, in the 1970s, for example to move to a city he hated (Los Angeles) or in the previously uninspiring Berlin of the Cold War. In both places, Bowie made great strides in his work, and the film gives a lot of space to his Berlin association with Brian Eno.

Along with Terry Burns, the half-brother who opened his eyes to the counterculture, and Iman, the Somali model he married in 1992, Eno is the only figure from the outside world mentioned.

“You’re not supposed to understand everything you’re seeing, you’re supposed to let yourself go over the top,” Morgen told Sight & Sound magazine, which dedicated the cover of its October issue to the musician and the film.

That’s the thing about Bowie’s entire career. His unstoppable creative capacity, his work that transcends forms and becomes himself, his ability to transform his megastardom into an artistic concept, make him one of the great names of 20th century culture. .

Morgen —who here wrote, directed, edited and produced— manages to remind us of it in the best possible way. With immersive and kaleidoscopic forms in which video clips, video art, collage come together to explain the inexplicable: what makes a genius a genius. Bowie was one of them and therefore a mystery that not even a movie as impressive as this helps to unveil.

A documentary tries to reveal the mystery of the last great genius of pop music